March 7, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman (c) talks with power forward Andray Blatche (7) and guard Shelvin Mack (22) during a stoppage in play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 106-101. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Andray Blatche was a colossal failure in Washington, especially his 2011-12 campaign, which was easily his worst season to date. He regressed in every conceivable facet, from shooting efficiency to shot selection to defensive output to more specific measures like his points per possessions on post ups.
He was amnestied after Washington deemed his contract, with three years and $23 million remaining, as an unnecessary expenditure. They were trying to cultivate a positive, forthcoming atmosphere. The additions of steady veterans like Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor exemplify that ideal. Keeping Blatche, however, didn’t.
Partly because his play dropped so dramatically and partly because his attitude problems aren’t warranted on any team, Blatche has little suitors and little leverage. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have expressed some interest but neither team is in a position, nor do they need, to add a detrimental figure to their organizations.
That’s why, in a recent interview with Donna Ditota of The Syracuse Post Standard, he expressed his willingness to play in the NBA Developmental League.
“My dream destination right now would be back on the court. For real. Just to get back on the court,” he said. “It’s something I love to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Heat or the Spurs or the D League. Whatever. As long as I’m back on the court playing ball.
“I mean, I love the game. I’m a fan of the game. I love playing basketball. That’s the only thing I’ve been doing since I’ve been little. Basketball is something that is very, very important to me.”
At this point, Blatche may be trying to create positive public relations to give the impression that he has changed. Or he may be legitimately at a juncture in his career where he feels it’s necessary to take a step back, relax and realize his priorities. For all we know, he may have discovered himself this offseason and be more willing to comply. He has the talent. The only impediment was, and has always been, himself.
Perhaps the D-League will offer Blatche the austere environment to hone his skills. The ancillary factors that reside in the pro game wouldn’t be there to affect his psyche. This is not a permanent setting, however; Blatche is simply too talented for the D-League level. This option is to simply prevent San Antonio from making a finite decision while keeping their options open. (It should be noted that it’s not like they would be giving him a ton of money anyway.)
Blatche’s career has already hit rock bottom. The only way out may be to embrace his game, his ability, himself. The D-League should allow Blatche to do just that.